Raynald Aeschlimann: The James Bond of watches

It is the first watch that went to the Moon.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
16 September 2023 Saturday 10:52
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Raynald Aeschlimann: The James Bond of watches

It is the first watch that went to the Moon. That of the most famous spy in the world. That of the Emirates Team New Zealand, which these days is testing its strength in Vilanova i la Geltrú and which next year will defend its title in the 37th America's Cup in Barcelona. And it is also one of those that invests the most in innovation, the exact chronometry watch. The official of the Olympic Games since 1932.

All that is Omega, a manufacture created in 1848 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, by a 23-year-old watchmaker, Louis Brandt, who was named after the last letter of the Greek alphabet to become one of the most sought-after brands in the world. world. “Omega sells two thousand watches a day but the important thing is its attitude. "Its great obsession is to always be one step ahead in innovation, precision, sustainability and reliability," explains its CEO, Raynald Aeschlimann, who has been linked to the firm for 27 years and knows better than anyone the secret of its long and growing success.

Their agenda is a permanent celebration. One morning he is in London toasting the 60th anniversary of James Bond with Daniel Craig and the next in Mykonos to celebrate the water resistance of the 11 watches in his Seamaster Summer Blue collection.

One day she has to welcome Zoë Kravitz as the brand's new ambassador or Nicole Kidman or Cindy Crawford to promote the brand's most feminine collections and the next she travels to Paris to start the countdown to the 2024 Games at the foot of the Eiffel Tower (a week ago) to, without barely setting foot in Geneva, rush to Vilanova i la Geltrú to meet with Grant Dalton, CEO of the America's Cup, his Emirates Team New Zealand team and the Hundred Guineas Jug, the best guarded trophy on the planet. And present another of the watches of his desire. The Seamaster Planet Ocean Deep Black ETNZ.

Raynald Aeschlimann has charisma. He's a smart guy. Frank, friendly and surrounded by a team of smart and creative people like him (Daniel Casas is the director of the Spanish market), he already demonstrated this in his debut as CEO at the Rio Games (with Michael Phelps, Buzz Aldrin, Eddie Redmayne and Alessandra Ambrosio, among many other celebrities) who has star-like manners. And that he marks, always with his Omega on his left wrist (now a Seemaster Ultra Deep) and bespoke shoes and suits, style. A style, as has already been said, of a star.

He began working for the firm in 1996 when Omega was struggling to (re)make itself after the quartz crisis (arose with the arrival of Japanese battery-operated watches, which, as recently happened with connected ones, seemed like the beginning of the end for Swiss made). In 2001, now vice president of sales, he opened, in collaboration with Nicolas Hayek, the flagship store in Zurich, the first of all those that are currently located in the main cities of the world. It was a great year to remember in which it was also able to push innovations such as the coaxial escapement, which gave customers confidence in mechanical watches.

But it was in 2016, when he was appointed first director, when success came to Omega. “Many of the watches are Master Chronometer certified. The Seamaster Ultra Deep broke diving records. Materials such as Bronze Gold and O-Mega Steel and innovations such as the Chrono Chime and the incredibly precise and most recent Spirate hairspring system arrived. And we've gotten very serious about sustainability, even developing partnerships with Clearspace and Privateer to help map and clean the space, in addition, of course, to serving Olympic athletes with our timing tasks in very challenging conditions such as those of the pandemic". Economic data? Few. No company in the sector in Switzerland makes them public, but according to the latest report prepared by Morgan Stanley and the Swiss consulting firm LuxeConsult, last year Omega had a turnover of 2,497 million euros.